I am a Frida-phile and naturally think of her through October, perhaps as the November 2nd celebration of Dia de los Muertos, approaches. I am ignoring the whole Frida cult thing and only writing what I know. Frida Kahlo was born July 6, 1907 and died July 13, 1954. She was born just before the Mexican revolution in 1910. Her talent, intellect, love of her country, its people, and their culture created this woman who was realized for her genius only years after her death. Her influences included religious and indigenous art. Her paintings were surreal before surrealism was acknowledged; primitive before primitivism was acknowledged. She dressed in traditional clothing to celebrate the working peasant women in her country. However, she had better beads.
Mom and I talked for years about going to visit Frida's home in Coyoacan, and Mexico City. In 2006 we went to Iceland. On the return from Iceland, there were two signs that made it clear that our next trip would be to Mexico. Here were the signs:
1) On the plane back, I spied this in the in-flight magazine:
Who knew that such a tequila existed? I now have some in my small liquor cabinet. I have the blue one.
2) We saw a woman at Newark Airport wearing this:
I now own several Frida shirts.
2007 was the 100th anniversary of Frida's birth. We made the trip that year.
Here is Frida as a young woman:
Here is my favorite of Frida's self portraits, which she painted for Leon Trotsky to whom the Mexican government gave asylum when Stalin came into power. Frida had an affair with Trotsky, who was later assasinated in Mexico City. Trotsky kept rabbits.
Frida's home was Casa Azul "blue house" in Coyoacan, outside of Mexico City. She was born and died there. Here's Mom outside the entrance to Casa Azul, now a museum:
Frida painted the house blue; it was not blue when she grew up there.
The inner courtyard is full of plants, cats, and a miniature aztec temple that Diego Rivera, Frida's husband, had built for her:
Diego was a famous muralist and communist. Here they are on their wedding day:
Diego depicted the history of Mexico in huge and numerous murals at the National Palace in Mexico City. Here is Frida, as the corn maiden, if I recall correctly.
To celebrate Frida's centenary, the Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City had a huge retrospective of her work, including works loaned from five US museums and one in Japan. The halls were packed; museum attendance records were broken. Here's Nancy in front of the Palacio as we entered:
Diego built a house in San Angel, also outside of Mexico City. This house had two parts, connected by a bridge. Frida's side was smaller and is blue. Diego and Frida lived together on and off during their lives.
Here is one of the best photos I've ever taken on my no brain point and shoot, at Teotihuacan, a site of the preColumbian civilization outside of Mexico City. The Teotihuacan civilization dates from 200 BCE. This view is from the Temple of the Moon, looking at the Temple of the Sun. In the movie Frida, the lovely Selma Hayek as Frida, leads Geoffrey Rush, as Trotsky, up the steps of one of these pyramids.
I read her biography, Frida: A Biography of Frida Kahlo by Hayden Herrera and found no evidence to support any knitting. But as we might gather, she was busy painting and dealing with the tragedies in her life. I recommend this book if you like a detailed biography. If DVD is more to your taste, I suggest:
The Life and Times of Frida Kahlo is a lovely documentary by Amy Stechler.
The movie Frida portrays a somewhat-close-to-reality life of Frida. Salma Hayek is amazing.
There are lots of others.
When in Mexico, we did spy some fiber activity:
Here's what I'm sporting this month, think of your forebears on Dia de los Muertos, November 2nd